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    Fitzpatrick + Partners save 1 Castlereagh from Seidler dominance

    Nathan Johnson

    When entering Castlereagh Street in Sydney the exposed structural steel frame of Harry Seidler’s famous Capita Building grabs your attention right away. Its bulk dominates the street and its uniqueness warrants the attention of onlookers.

    But while it may appear and act to be, Capita isn’t the true bookend to Castlereagh. That role is afforded to 1 Castlereagh Street, a Stephenson and Turner-designed office tower that sits on the corner of Castlereagh and Hunter Streets.

    While the office levels of the 1967-built 1 Castlereagh are practically sound, the building’s owner feels that its podium, which features a deeply recessed retail/ lobby podium, is unbefitting of its location on a busy city corner site located in the middle of the financial business core of the Sydney CBD.

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    The exposed steel frame of Seidler’s Capita Building dominates the entrance to Castlereagh Street. 1 Castlereagh is on the immediate right. Images: F+P, Visit Sydney and Google Earth.


    Fitzpatrick+Partners (F+P) architects were called upon to upgrade the building’s base to the standard of service and delivery expected by commercial tenants in buildings within this part of the Sydney CBD.

    Specifically they were briefed to address the following problems:

    • The lack of a true address and front door to the building
    • Look at opportunities to expand the podium of the building to create optimum retail opportunities, particularly focussing around F+B users
    • Create or reinforce an architectural identity for the building as a whole, creating a signature
    • Create a comfortable relationship for the building against its Castlereagh and Hunter Street neighbours

    F+P have proposed to realign the currently deeply recessed base of 1 Castlereagh with the continual street alignment created by the dominant structural column of the neighbouring Capita Building. Their solution is to create a dominant street wall of glazing and vertically aligned extrusions to continue the already established street pattern.  The wall will also form a new colonnade space which will define the building’s lobby entry, removing the need for secondary street awning elements for both weather protection and visual identity.

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    Before and After: The building’s Castlereagh Street elevation will be realigned with the one posed by the colonnade of Capita Building.
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    The wall will take a vertical formation from the language of the Capita Building podium and its bronze colour from the existing tower above. F+P says its intent is to read as the logical podium solution of the original tower, with a clearly defined vertical post arrangement with the Capita Building.  These posts form the colonnade against the Capita Building and access ramp, and then continue behind the glass wall to the street corner.

    Similarly, on the Hunter Street edge, F+P will build strong to the street alignment raising the height of the current street wall to give it more dominance and architectural merit. The Hunter Street wall will be formed using a sandstone faced facade system, with deep reveals and varying shadow lines all within a dominant vertical formation in reference to the neighbouring Perpetual Trustee Company building.

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    Before and After: The building’s Hunter Street elevation will be bulked out and clad in sandstone to match the neighbouring Perpetual Trustee building.
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    Inside, the building will gutted and revamped. The basement is slightly reconfigured to create a retail space accessed from Hunter Street while the ground floor will be reconfigured to incorporate a new lobby and retail facilities within the expanded building envelope.  The void to level one will be retained by shifted.

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    Images: Fitzpatrick + Partners.

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